A SOUTH West Water worker from Tavistock has spoken out about the part he played in the dramatic rescue of an elderly couple from a car submerged in flood water last week.

Grainger Blain, a South West Water catchment operator, helped APC Overnight driver Gary Brewer pull an elderly couple from their submerged car on the road between Sparkwell and Venton last Wednesday (December 30).

Grainger, 47, said: ‘I was at Sparkwell sewage treatment works for a routine site visit. The weather was horrendous. It always floods under the railway bridge there and it was already a couple of feet deep when I went into the works.

‘When I came out half an hour later, at about midday, I had another look to see how bad it was. There was a car there, which hadn’t been there before, nearly full of water. There was a guy outside and at first I thought the car was his, but he beckoned me over because there was an elderly couple inside. He was trying to smash the window of the car because they couldn’t open the doors, so I went over to help.

‘Once he managed to smash the window he reached in to open the door. At that point the woman had to put her head under water to get out of the car. It was only a few inches from the roof. Together we dragged them out and onto dry land — well, wet land!’

While paramedics arrived and tended to the couple and Gary, who had injured his arms smashing the window, Grainger had to wait for a lift from the fire brigade’s boat to get back across the flood water to his van.

‘I was only in the flood water for five or 10 minutes but I was soaked through,’ he said. ‘My van was fine but my mobile phone and gas monitor were damaged from being submerged in the flood water. I waited for a lift back to the other side of the flood water and then went back to the works in Tavistock to change my wet clothes.’

Grainger, who is based at the sewage treatment works in Tavistock, insisted that he just did what anyone else would have done and that his part in the rescue was ‘not a big deal’.

Grainger’s manager Gareth Grimes praised his actions. He said: ‘I believe it is a big deal. Grainger did a great public service and ultimately he helped a couple who were in distress. He could have just phoned the emergency services and done nothing but he got stuck in and assisted.

‘He’s very humble and I’ve said to him it is a big deal — he needs to give himself a pat on the back for this and I’ll definitely be nominating him for a company award for employees who go the extra mile to deliver excellent service.’